The Real Secret to Going Viral Online

This is what the “gurus” won’t tell you.

Benya Clark
3 min readMay 29


Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

I’ve been writing online since 2018 and I’ve put a lot of effort into improving my craft. In many ways it’s paid off: I’ve reached hundreds of thousands of readers, built a successful mailing list, and started to make a modest living from ghostwriting content.

Despite all of this, I have a confession to make: I still don’t know what makes some articles go viral and some flop.

Here’s the big secret though: Nobody else knows either.

When I first started writing regularly, I spent a ton of time reading advice from self-styled “gurus” who claimed to have all of the secrets to viral success.

There was something weird about these articles though — they always felt like they were almost telling you something worthwhile, but they never quite got to the actionable advice. Or, they’d have a bit of advice that seemed solid, but when I implemented it, I wouldn’t see any difference.

Now that I have a better idea of what I’m doing, I look at these same types of articles and realize that the vast majority of these people don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. Some of the advice that they give is laughably wrong.

These articles are so prevalent because they’re a great money maker. There are always new writers looking to make it big on the internet, so the audience is virtually endless.

What’s even worse is that when you’re a new writer, you feel like you’re doing the right thing by reading the articles about how to go viral. You pat yourself on the back for taking the time to research and learn the craft. But, when it comes time to try it out, it rarely works.

Some of the writers giving advice on how to go viral have good intentions. They are trying to help, they just don’t realize how little they know. I’ve been in that boat, and I’ve written some of those articles.

Other writers are just trying to milk newbies for every penny they have. These are the ones who have expensive courses and coaching packages. They’re practically scam artists.

Sadly, this phenomenon isn’t just contained to the writing world. Essentially every creative field on the…



Benya Clark

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at